Edelstein, Rivlin make amends after Speaker race

"Edelstein didn't decide who would be Knesset Speaker, it was Netanyahu, Liberman and Sara," source close to Rivlin says after he makes peace with replacement.

Edelstein and Rivlin at mimouna 370 (photo credit: Kiryat Ata Municipality)
Edelstein and Rivlin at mimouna 370
(photo credit: Kiryat Ata Municipality)
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein and MK Reuven Rivlin, both from Likud Beytenu, made peace following weeks of tension over the latter losing the speakership to the former.
Rivlin made a conciliatory gesture at the Kiryat Ata Municipality’s Mimouna ceremony last week, showing that there were no hard feelings between him and Edelstein, even though they competed for the same position.
Several Likud MKs and ministers, including Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon, Transportation Minister Israel Katz, Energy and Water Minister Silvan Shalom, Culture and Sport Minister Limor Livnat and others, as well as party activists attended the Mimouna celebration hosted by Kiryat Ata Mayor Ya’acov Peretz.
In previous years, the Knesset Speaker was asked to address the attendees, as an official who is meant to represent all of Israeli society.
However, last Tuesday, the ministers asked Rivlin, the former Speaker, to give a speech, as he is the veteran Likud MK.
Rivlin briefly spoke about Mimouna as a holiday that represents unity, and said that different parts of Israeli society, as well as the Likud, must be united.
Rivlin concluded his speech by saying: “I want to invite the Knesset Speaker, a symbol of unity, the man who represents Israeli democracy that unites us all, to speak, despite the arguments.”
Edelstein took the stage, and the two men hugged.
A source close to Rivlin said the MK noticed that Edelstein looked uncomfortable with not receiving an honor that usually goes to the Knesset Speaker.
“Rivlin decided to call Edelstein up, because they’re not fighting. Edelstein didn’t decide who would be Knesset Speaker, it was [Prime Minister Binyamin] Netanyahu, [Yisrael Beytenu chairman Avigdor] Liberman and Sara,” the source said, referring to the prime minister’s wife.
Rivlin insinuated in several interviews in recent weeks that Netanyahu did not support his reelection as Knesset Speaker because his wife did not approve.
In an interview with The Jerusalem Post last month, Edelstein expressed hope that he and Rivlin would be able to make amends, calling the latter’s hurt feelings unfortunate and saying the two had been friends for years.
“I hope that we can cooperate in this Knesset, because he has great experience and has well-known aspirations [to be president],” Edelstein said.